Journey of Grace video game created out of gaming ministry
George Herrera is the game director and producer behind the mobile game “The Journey of Grace,” based on the Church of the Nazarene’s 2021 Vacation Bible School curriculum. For Herrera, video games have always been a part of life.
“Gaming has always been a passion of mine,” Herrera said. “I remember when I was growing up, I could always go into my room and play games; it was a safe space for me. It is where I found meaningful connections and community with my friends.”
Herrera, who holds an undergraduate degree in youth ministry, didn’t see how his love of video games could connect to his ministry, calling, and vocation until he moved to the UK to attend Nazarene Theological College–Manchester. While there, he attended a seminar on the intersection of video games and spirituality.
“At first, when I saw this, I thought, ‘no way, this can’t be a thing,’” Herrera said. “But as they explained, video games have a lot of Christian symbolism and concepts.”
After this, Herrera started incorporating video games into his youth ministry. He started an Esports team in his community and created an event called Victory Gaming with local tournaments for games like Mario Kart and Rocket League. At the most recent event, 10 young people accepted Jesus as their Savior.
Herrera knew there was more to this calling than just incorporating video games into the church. His next goal was to create a game to serve the church.
Herrera kept praying, and soon after, he was contacted by Diego Lopez, the Nazarene Discipleship International (NDI) coordinator for Eurasia. They met for breakfast, and Herrera explained his vision for using video games to communicate the gospel. Lopez was on board to see the vision become reality.
Then, the pandemic hit.
Everything came to a halt, and all hope seemed lost for a game to be developed. But Herrera kept serving and praying. He had conversations with Lopez, Eurasia Regional Director Jim Ritchie, and NDI Global Director Scott Rainey.
George’s project was placed under Journey of Grace Vacation Bible School resources created by the Church of the Nazarene. George got the project approved with the understanding that the game would be ready to showcase at the 2023 General Assembly. Herrera and his team had nine months to complete their tasks, which he described as “a mountain of work.”
The “Journey of Grace” narrative follows a girl named Grace who is nervous before her first day at a new school. Her mother tells her the story of her name to ease her nerves. Players are cast as Grace’s mother as she journeys through three different levels, meeting God in three different forms: a fox, a ram, and a hummingbird. Through their interactions, players learn about God’s grace and love. Players see that no matter the challenge, God is there to help guide them through their journey.
“Journey of Grace” allows kids aged 4 to 11 to learn about theological concepts through the art of play. Through the game, leaders hope to provide a way for churches to intersect with culture in order to bring value and contextualize the gospel in ways that make sense to them. Herrara stressed that the game is not simply to entertain kids; he sees it as a communicative tool to teach truths about who God is and His relation to individuals.
“My hope for the game is that it would be widely used as a tool to teach our children about God,” Herrera said. “I think video games can be a powerful teaching tool. Each game communicates something, and I hope that this game could be a way to learn through experience.”
“Journey of Grace” is now available to download for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
This is an adapted version of a story that appeared on the Eurasia Region Website. To view the original version, click here.